For the Global Biodiversity Framework to succeed, quality of management at systems and site levels will be as important as quantity of areas conserved. Assessment of management effectiveness has been made in at least some protected areas in most countries, this effort will need to increase and most importantly management adapted to ensure effectiveness. This is particularly important as the effectiveness of the current protected area network does not match its rate of expansion. A quarter to a third of all protected areas have ineffective management. (Comparative data on OECMs is not yet available, although in theory OECMs cannot be recognized unless they are effective.)
What do we mean by “Effective”?
Effectiveness is defined as the degree to which something is successful in achieving a desired result. In terms of conservation effectiveness this is usually related to achieving clearly defined conservation objectives, which in turn should be driven by the intended outcomes. All forms of effective area-based conservation need to demonstrate and deliver positive and sustained long-term conservation outcomes either related to specific conservation goals and objectives for protected areas, or as a result of other goals and objectives. Effective conservation of systems and sites results in flourishing biodiversity and positive sociocultural outcomes in the landscape and seascape.
To be effective, sites should represent areas of biodiversity importance, be connected, have effective management and equitable governance, i.e., all the elements of GBF Target 3. Success is based around assessing how effectively objectives have been met. These might be planned conservation targets, or the result of traditional values, or be recognized later in the case of OECMs. Such objectives will therefore be culturally or contextually distinct but must ensure conservation effectiveness to meet the GBF. A management effectiveness evaluation is a tool for adaptive management that needs to include a focus on conservation outcomes. It does not necessarily require the same approach as measuring progress against global targets.
Effective management is based on the adequacy and appropriateness of resources and processes to enable positive and sustained long-term biodiversity (and concomitant social outcomes). What is considered effective will vary from site to site, and should be agreed by a participatory process, and influenced by context (e.g., governance, pressures, enabling conditions such as legislation), decisions relating to design and connectivity taken during establishment/recognition and evolving management actions (including inputs/resources and management practices) informed by monitoring and assessment.
Specific management processes vary, but global guidance exists in terms of management standards, capacity, competence, assessment and monitoring; all of which should contribute to management that is adaptive, inclusive and transparent.